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Atlanta suburb opens $85 million serpentine-shaped high school designed by Perkins&Will

K-12 Schools

Atlanta suburb opens $85 million serpentine-shaped high school designed by Perkins&Will

Serving more than 2,200 students, Morrow High School features a curving shape that reduces impact on the greenfield site’s wetlands.


By Novid Parsi, Contributing Editor  | February 18, 2023
Morrow High School Ellenwood, Georgia, by Perkins and Will The curving, S-shaped classroom building follows the ridge that runs across the greenfield site, reducing impact on its wetlands.
The curving, S-shaped classroom building follows the ridge that runs across the greenfield site, reducing impact on its wetlands. Photo: Jonathan Hillyer

In Ellenwood, Ga., a southeast suburb of Atlanta, Perkins&Will has partnered with Clayton County Public Schools and MEJA Construction to create a $85 million secondary school. Morrow High School, which opened in fall 2022, serves more than 2,200 students in Clayton County, a community with students from over 30 countries.

The curving, S-shaped classroom building follows the ridge that runs across the greenfield site, reducing impact on its wetlands. The three-story classroom building connects via skybridge to an athletic building with basketball and volleyball courts, an auxiliary gym, weight room, and locker rooms. In addition to the two main buildings, students throughout the school district can access the new stadium for football and track and field, as well as facilities for baseball, softball, and tennis.

At each bend in the building, common spaces encourage students to socialize and learn in between classes. Large windows at every bend of the building’s S-curved shape allow natural light to enter the center of the facility, encouraging health and wellness. 

The design also has a built-in wellness component by encouraging students to keep moving, with lighting, locker location, flooring, and colors emphasizing a sense of movement and providing access to natural light and the outdoors. All of the indoor spaces have views of the site’s natural surroundings.

“In this design, we tried to capture a vision for the future of this community that’s dynamic, healthy, and at the forefront of public education,” Jared Serwer, Associate Principal and Design Lead, Perkins&Will, said at last year’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We have worked to develop a design that celebrates the diversity of this community and encourages interdisciplinary collaboration between the sciences, the arts, career education, and athletics.”  

On the Building Team:
Owner: Clayton County Public Schools
Architect: Perkins&Will
Structural engineer: Uzun + Case
Civil engineer: Eberly & Associates
MEP engineer: Andrews, Hammock & Powell
Acoustics: Acustica Design
General contractor: MEJA Construction

Morrow High School Interior image, by Perkins and Will.jpg
Photo: Jonathan Hillyer
Morrow High School Basketball Court by Perkins and Will
Photo: John Stinson/Perkins&Will
Morrow High School Ellenwood, Georgia, by Perkins and Will
Photo courtesy Perkins&Will

 

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